A young woman from Weinan, China who bought a highly venomous snake from an online retailer is now comatose with no brain activity after her new serpentine pet bit her on the finger.
According to the news website Huashang Daily, the 21-year-old woman told the seller she wanted to purchase the snake – described as a “Silver Ring snake” but possibly a Coral snake or Banded Krait – supposedly so she could brew medicinal wine. The girl's friends and family, however, said she was keeping the snake as a pet.
Her relatives stated that after being bitten, the girl reported feeling unwell and was brought to the Third Hospital of Weinan City. The hospital had no antivenin specific to that type of snake and the girl suffered cardiac arrest while being examined. Doctors managed to restore her heartbeat after about 50 minutes but she has remained in a vegetative state with no brain activity ever since. The snake (shown above) was found several days later, deceased and laying on the ground near an outdoor refuse bin.
Although the popular perception is that the online market in China is completely unregulated, a number of rules were broken leading to this sad situation. A spokesperson from the Wildlife Conservation Workstation of Weinan City stated that this type of snake is a nationally protected species that could not be sold without official approval. As well, private trading of venomous snakes in online and/or via mail is strictly prohibited. Tell that to the comatose woman, the online retailer, and nervous Chinese mailmen.